"Firestone Fast Six" Qualifying Results (mph): 1. Will Power (102.528); 2. Ryan Hunter-Reay (102.469); 3. Mike Conway (101.733); 4. Oriol Servia (101.673); 5. Justin Wilson (101.487); 6. Helio Castroneves (101.440).
Tomorrow, the tires will be a big deal because there is such a variance between the primary and alternates.
Firestone qualifying highlight: Once again, the Firestone red-sidewall alternate was the exclusive tire used in qualifying. Will Power maximized his alternates to capture his third pole position in as many races this season. The alternate is new for 2011. The primary (black-sidewall) spec this weekend features a new tread compound for 2011, and was run previously this year at St. Pete. Pole winner Power set his fastest lap on a set of used alternate tires.
Qualifying temperatures: Track temperatures ranged from 116°- 120° F (47°-49° C) and ambient temperatures from 86°-88° F (30°-31° C).
From pole winner Will Power, #12 Verizon Team Penske Dallara/Honda/Firestone: "The competition is just so close! I thought Briscoe was going to be the guy to beat. And Hunter-Reay is so good here - he won last year. It's going to be tough tomorrow with him right next to me. The alternate tires were almost better on the second run than on the first run. Tomorrow, the tires will be a big deal because there is such a variance between the primary and alternates. During the middle part of the race, if you are on the primary tires, and you've got someone on your backside that's on the alternates, it's going to be hard work keeping them behind you."
From Al Speyer, Executive Director, Firestone Racing: "Three races and three poles for Will Power - what else can you say? It's a bit surprising that Will was able to set his fastest time on a set of used alternates, but that bodes well for some good tire strategies for tomorrow's race. With somewhat cooler temperatures expected tomorrow, that could also have an effect on car setup and tire performance. In any case, Firestone Racing is proud to once again be the Official Tire of the 37th Annual Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach, and there's nowhere else we'd rather be this weekend!"
-source: firestone racing